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Hafeez: It was difficult to hit Dinda

Ahmedabad: Pakistan captain Mohammed Hafeez said that his side never expected the partnership between Yuvraj Singh and captain Mahendra Singh Dhoni to flourish.

According to Hafeez, the 97-run partnership between the duo was the “turning point of the match”.

“Although, they went off to a promising start, we were hopeful of restricting them to 160-170… But Yuvraj was exceptional today. The way he batted was outstanding. He also struck a good partnership with Dhoni. We were not expecting the partnership to go that further. The partnership was the turning point of the match,” Hafeez said at the post match media conference here.

The Pakistan captain also feels that the inability of their batsmen to get going between the seventh and the 10th over didn’t help Pakistan’s cause. Pakistan could score only 16 runs off those three overs.

“It was a very small period in the match where we got stuck… Ravichandran Ashwin and Suresh Raina didn’t give the batsmen any space to hit. It really did affect our run chase later in the match.”

Hafeez also said that Ashok Dinda’s second spell — the seamer took three wickets and only gave away 12 runs — proved to be crucial for India.

“Their bowlers didn’t perform well in the last couple of matches. But they did the basics right and were on target today. Dinda was good in the last two overs… He bowled perfect yorkers and it was difficult to hit him. In the penultimate over of our innings, he got the vital wickets of Kamran and mine. If either of us had scored a boundary, then it would have eased the pressure. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen,” he said.

Talking about their own bowling performance, Hafeez said: “In this match, during the middle session after 10 overs, we couldn’t bowl well. We didn’t follow the basics and it cost us too many runs in the end.”

Asked what was his message to his teammates during the interval, Hafeez said: “When we got together, I told them not to think the target of 193… I asked them to think of scoring 9 runs an over. If we can do that then we can win the match. The boys showed positive approach. Unfortunately, we could not finish off well.”

Speaking about his own performance, Hafeez said: “I am trying hard to improve. Everyday, I try to get something out of the nets. Things are working and I hope it continues in the one-day series as well.”